The Cape Town SSPX, calumny, and fear

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Today, as I was leaving for work, a member of the neighbouring Society of St Pius X (SSPX) congregation complained to me about what I’d said in the Pinelands Facebook group.

He clearly hadn’t read what I wrote there himself (he said he heard about it), so he falsely accused me of calumny. Specifically relating to the issue of their (at one time) bishop Williamson’s Holocaust denialism and antisemitism.

Calumny

Wiktionary: Calumny: A false accusation or charge brought to tarnish another’s reputation or standing.

The discussion:

Calumny - not
Calumny – not

Him: Why did you have to mention about anti-Jew? … You don’t think you’re committing a bit of calumny there …
Me: Not at all.
Him: Not at all? I think you are, and I accuse you of it, and I would ask you to stop it please.

Him (later): You raising us being anti-Jewish is not telling the truth.

So … what did I write?

“Society of St Pius X is a quasi-Catholic splinter group known for causing trouble. They are not accountable to the mainstream Catholic bishops. Their bishops were un-excommunicated in 2009, and on the same day one of them was on Swedish TV (pre-recorded) denying the Holocaust. He has since been kicked out of this group. The local lot are not anti-semitic, as far as I can tell.”

I a) wrote that they were known for causing trouble, b) mentioned the events surrounding their de-excommunication, c) pointed out that Williamson had been kicked out of this group, and d) stated that, as far as I can tell, the local SSPX are not anti-Semitic.

All four of those are true. So what I wrote was not a false accusation or charge. And what I wrote was not what he had heard I’d written. He was listening to false rumours. He had accepted as truth the calumny spread by someone else.

Cult telling you you are lying
Cult telling you you are lying

As for their reputation, I don’t think it adds much to the damage they’ve done to it already through their COVID-related antics. People here have known for a long time, and they just shake their heads in disgust.

He COULD have argued that I was committing the sin of detraction – damaging a reputation by revealing the truth. However, that would be mitigated by the responsibility of exposing dangerous behaviour and the importance making the community aware of it in their midst. So many Catholics have said that molester-priests should not be publicly exposed and turned in to the police. Look where that got us. Pah.

Fear

Then he accused me of fear. That’s a common accusation made by people who want to assert their superiority and power over others. They make the claim that you are fearful, instantly gain the upper hand (so they think) and feel good about themselves and their lack of fear.

Wearing a mask and fear
Wearing a mask and fear

Him: … if you want to run scared like a headless chicken, that’s your problem.

I am not scared of the virus. I respect it. (And I value the lives of those around me). I am the one who gets dressed up when there’s a potential haemorrhagic fever sample that needs to be get whatever routine tests are needed for the patient. I work in a virology lab. With viruses.

There is a big difference between fear of the virus and respect for the lives of other people. That is why we wear masks – not so much to protect ourselves, but to prevent spread to others in case we are shedding the virus.

Some people need to get that into their heads.

The discussion ended with, from him: “So wind your neck in.”

Statue in honour of antimaskers
Statue in honour of antimaskers
Wearing a mask offends
Wearing a mask offends
The right to harm
The right to harm

SSPX, Pinelands, Cape Town, 36 Central Avenue, 33 Central Square, 19 St Stephens Road, Latin Mass

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